top of page

Ace Your IGCSE Maths Exam with These FREE Past Papers & Tips!

Calling all IGCSE Maths students! Feeling the pressure of the upcoming exam? Take a deep breath and get ready to conquer it! Practising with IGCSE past papers is a well-established strategy for achieving top grades, and this guide equips you with everything you need to excel.

What is the IGCSE Maths Syllabus?

The IGCSE Maths syllabus fosters a balanced development of mathematical knowledge and skills, equipping students with a comprehensive understanding of key concepts. This structure ensures they are well-prepared for both further education and practical applications of mathematics in everyday life.

Building a Strong Foundation:

Core Topics: 

Numbers, algebra, geometry, and statistics form the essential building blocks, ensuring a solid foundation for all students.

Expanded Horizons:

The Extended curriculum delves deeper with advanced concepts like calculus and trigonometry, challenging high achievers.

Real-World Connections:

Throughout the syllabus, students are encouraged to apply their knowledge to practical situations, honing their problem-solving skills and understanding the everyday relevance of mathematics.

What papers are in Maths IGCSE?

The content varies among different exam boards, and the differences can be substantial. Therefore, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the specific papers you will encounter on the day of the exam.

To determine the exact papers you'll be facing, consult your maths teacher and identify the exam board you are preparing for. Commonly mentioned boards include Edexcel or Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE).

Most exam boards offer two levels of difficulty known as "foundation" and "higher". For CAIE exams, these are represented by "core" and "extended" papers, respectively. Make sure you know which type of paper you'll be taking.

The number of students who took Edexel IGCSE Maths in the UK

Chart of the number of students who took Edexel IGCSE Maths in the UK
The number of students who took Edexel IGCSE Maths in the UK

Understanding the Key Differences Between the Different Tiers of IGCSE Maths 

Choosing the right IGCSE maths tier is important, as it affects the content you learn, the difficulty level, and your potential final grade. Here's a breakdown of the key differences:

Foundation Tier:

  • Less content: This tier focuses on core mathematical concepts and practical applications.

  • Maximum grade: Grade 5 (Previously C)

Higher Tier:

  • More content: This tier delves deeper into mathematical concepts and introduces more complex problem-solving techniques.

  • Maximum grade: Grade 9 (Previously A*)

CAIE Core Mathematics:

  • Content: Covers fundamental mathematical concepts and provides a solid foundation for further study.

  • Depth: Focuses on essential skills and practical applications.

  • Target Grades: C to G.

  • Maximum Grade: C.

CAIE Extended Mathematics:

  • Content: Builds upon the Core curriculum with additional topics and greater depth in existing topics.

  • Depth: Delves deeper into mathematical concepts and introduces more complex problem-solving techniques.

  • Target Grades: A* to E.

  • Maximum Grade: A*.

Impact on Further Studies

The tier you choose can influence your options for further studies, particularly in fields heavily reliant on mathematics. Higher tier Maths IGCSE can be a prerequisite for certain courses, particularly those in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

Making the Decision

While your teacher will guide you based on your abilities, it's also crucial to consider your aspirations and goals. If you're unsure which tier is right for you, openly discuss your concerns and ambitions with your teacher. They can help you assess your options and make an informed decision that aligns with your future plans.

Student deciding between Edexcel and CAIE for IGCSE Maths
Torn between Edexcel and CAIE for IGCSE Maths? You're not alone! Both are respected boards, but which is right for you?

Choosing Your IGCSE Maths Exam Board

Selecting the right IGCSE Maths exam board is essential to ensure your learning experience aligns with your academic goals. To make this decision, understanding the strengths and assessment styles of the leading boards can be highly valuable.

Here's a breakdown of two prominent choices:

  • Focus: Clarity and accessibility.

  • Assessment: Structured format with clear, straightforward questions assessing computation and understanding.

  • Strengths: User-friendly exam papers, detailed mark schemes, known for being approachable.

  • Focus: Emphasis on problem-solving skills and real-world applications.

  • Assessment: Mix of structured questions and extended response questions, testing deep understanding.

  • Strengths: Rigorous curriculum, global recognition, popular choice for international schools.

Choosing the right qualification can be tricky, especially when considering IGCSEs and GCSEs. Both options offer pathways for secondary education, but they have distinct features that impact your learning journey.

Conquering Common Obstacles

Feeling overwhelmed by IGCSE Maths? You're not alone! Many students face similar hurdles on their journey to mastering the subject. Don't let these challenges deter your progress. Here's how to overcome some of the most common ones:

1. Grasping Fundamental Concepts: 

If you're struggling to understand core concepts, don't despair. Regular practice is key! Work through problems consistently, and don't hesitate to seek explanations from various resources like textbooks, online tutorials, or even your teacher. Remember, the "aha!" moments will come with dedication and exploration.

2. Time Management: 

Exam time pressure can be nerve-wracking, but you can beat the clock! Practice solving problems under timed conditions to simulate the actual exam environment. As you practise, focus on developing efficient problem-solving techniques to improve both your speed and accuracy. Remember, time management is a skill, and the more you practise, the more confident you'll become.

3. Dealing with Exam Stress: 

Feeling anxious before or during an exam is normal. However, high levels of stress can hinder your performance. To combat this, equip yourself with stress-management techniques like deep breathing exercises and positive self-talk. Visualise yourself succeeding, stay calm, and focus on showcasing your knowledge. Remember, preparation is key to reducing anxiety; ensure you've thoroughly reviewed the material and practised solving problems beforehand.

4. Resource Overload: 

Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of study materials available? Don't let them drown you! Instead, curate your learning resources. Choose a few high-quality study guides and resources that align with your learning style and stick with them. Focusing on a smaller, well-chosen set of materials will help you stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Image of past paper question for IGCSE Maths

Your Guide to Finding IGCSE Maths Past Papers

IGCSE Maths is more than just a subject; it's a gateway to a world of opportunities. By developing strong problem-solving skills and a deep understanding of numbers, you prepare yourself for success in further studies, exciting career paths, and everyday life.

One of the most effective ways to conquer IGCSE Maths obstacles is to practise with past papers. The most reliable source for accessing IGCSE Maths past papers is the official website of your respective exam board. These platforms generously offer past papers from previous years across all subjects, including IGCSE Maths, without any cost. These resources acclimate you to the exam format, the types of questions asked, and hone your skills under pressure. To support your preparation, we've compiled a list of free past papers for you to practise with.

Maths IGCSE past paper for Edexcel

Find your tier below and click to download the past paper:





Maths GCSE past paper for CAIE

Find your tier below and click to download the past paper:



Don't let IGCSE Maths hold you back. Schedule a consultation with LearnFire and see how our expert tutors can help you excel.



bottom of page